An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Purchasing real estate can be the largest investment some of us will ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Practically all the parties involved are very familiar. The most familiar face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money needed to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, what party makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from A. M. Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first duty at A. M. Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually view aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where we pull information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in West Columbia and Lexington, A. M. Appraisals is your local authority. This approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valuePrices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from A. M. Appraisals will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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